DV @ Work NL Project Update: Getting the Survey our the door

The good news is that a national survey on Domestic Violence (DV) and its impact on the workforce, was circulated in 2014 and, thanks to this initial work by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and an amazing team at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) – there is ongoing work rolling right across the country. The bad news is that back in 2014, this survey’s uptake wasn’t strong in Atlantic Canada. There weren’t enough surveys completed for the results to be ‘statistically significant.’ So, the first task for the DV@WORK-NL team was to re-jig the original 2014 survey – and launch it again!

We are determined to increase participation in the survey in Newfoundland and Labrador! We want to ensure that, along with key cross-provincial comparisons that the data from the survey will offer, we will also be able to provide and analyse some new kinds of data – specifically relevant to Newfoundland and Labrador. So…

This summer involved considerable consultation with a whole host of partners. This involved painstaking edits to the original survey by NAWN, OAWA, NLFL, the Mokami Status of Women Council – along with feedback from our own board at the St. John’s Status of Women Council, and feedback by the Canadian Federation of Students at Memorial University and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) here in St. John’s – just to name a few. By the end of the summer our survey was carefully re-jigged with Newfoundland and Labrador in mind!

  • International students at MUN recommended some new questions that relate specifically to ‘precarious labour.’ They challenged us to gather data on students working inside the university itself and outside in precarious, part-time jobs. They also encouraged us to look carefully at how immigrants and refugees might be intercepting workplace supports.
  • Key activists from SHOP pointed out that working alone (or even isolated in a home office) might offer additional/unique challenges to women in need of resources.
  • Rich discussions in Corner Brook helped identify the way DV can impact LGBTQ2S survivors. Just as an example, without the right emergency supports, an abuser and their victim could find themselves in the same room in a shelter!

This much is clear: when it comes to examining the way DV impacts our workplaces – critical resources need to be both identified and developed. The support provided in our workplaces via coworkers and employers – can play an integral role in how things play out. Preliminary discussions and interviews have made us even more determined to angle in on key demographics that have, to date, been sidelined out of community discussions. Needless to say – our list of questions is growing daily.

After the editing was completed, the survey was quickly sent back into supportive hands at the Centre for Research and Education Woman and Children (CREWAC) at UWO. We were all so excited to see the online survey activated and so grateful for the ongoing support from CREWAC. Special thanks is owed to the CLC, who shared outreach ideas, press kits and resources and especially to Robyn Pike here at the St. John’s Status of Women Council, who brought the local campaign to life with some expertly crafted posters and press releases.

We are excited to report that on this front – there is still more to come; the survey outreach-team is not finished yet! The more surveys we manage to have filled out over the next few months – the more accurate our data will be here in Newfoundland and Labrador – and the better resources will be able to both identify and build. If you have already filled out the survey yourself – you can help the team enormously by sharing the link with family and friends and co-workers. The survey link will be active until January 2019 – but don’t wait until then! https://sjwomenscentre.ca/dvatworknl/


#FemFestNL 2.0 Accessibility Plan

FemFest NL Accessibility Plan

To see plan with colour photos please click ->  Here 

The Space and Eastern Edge Gallery – 72 Harbour Drive


Main entrance:  72 Harbour Drive

  • External double door is 6 ft wide
  • Concrete ramped entrance
  • No automated button for opening


Parking lot spaces and on street parking is free on weekends. There is a large public parking lot adjacent to 72 Harbour Drive; in this parking lot there are no designated Blue Zone spaces.

The Space

Upon entering the Space from Harbour Drive, please note the hallway has an uneven floor positioned approximately half way up the hallway. The floor dips by 1 inch for 6 feet, with a ramp installed throughout the doorways.

(First section of hallway into The Space)

(Second section of enterance hallway, ramp installed)

(Enterance into main space, ramps installed)


Single stall gender neutral washroom located in hallway from Harbour Dr entrance.

  • Door width is 30 inches
  • Washroom is at least 6 ft x 4 ft for maneuverability

Designated Women’s Accessible single stall washroom located down long hallway.

  • Door Width is 30 inches
  • Stall is at least 6 ft x 4.5 ft for maneuverability
  • Grab bars near toilet

Designated Men’s Accessible single stall washroom located down long hallway.

  • Door Width is 30 inches
  • Washroom is at least 6 ft x 4.5 ft for maneuverability
  • Grab bars near toilet

Alternate Formats

FemFestNL schedule is available in braille, in large print, and on a prerecorded MP3 file.

Additional Conference Supports

FemFestNL will honour attendant passes. Formal American Sign Language for Saturday night Keynote Speaker. Certified service animals are welcome – water bowls available for working animals. Hearing Amplification device available on site from CHHA-NL. One on one closed captioning available on site as requested. Additional accessibility information and supports provided by inclusionNL…for Everyone. For additional questions please contact Kathy with InclusionNL toll free at 1 844 517 1376.

Safe Crew onsite and identifiable at all times. 
Inclusion Crew onsite and identifiable with Guided Sight Training completed from CNIB. A designated “Quiet space” area available for individuals requiring a short term space. A Cultural Support person will be onsite and identifiable throughout the weekend.

All FemFest NL events are breastfeeding friendly. There will be nut-free snacks, water, tea, and coffee at all conference events.

There will be alcohol served on site during set times.

SJSWC Launches Membership Drive Campaign


For Immediate Release

July 6, 2017

SJSWC Launches Membership Drive Campaign

St. John’s, NL – The St. John’s Status of Women Council is the oldest, member-owned women’s centre in Canada. Today, they launch a new campaign inviting all people who feel passionately about issues such as wage parity, accessible childcare, gender balance in leadership, anti-violence work, sex worker rights, and feminism to become members.

Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council:

“I am so excited to launch this campaign as it will allow us to connect directly with people in our community who want to lend their voice, their skills, and their passion to the the daily work of advancing women’s rights. We welcome everyone who shares our guiding principles to become a member, and I especially encourage people who have wondered how they could get involved or who want to stay up to date on opportunites for activism to join us now.”

Becoming a member of the SJSOWC allows you to take an active role in the fight for equality, rights, and justice in Newfoundland and Labrador. Members will be provided with opportunities to join the SJSOWC at events, take part in training opportunities, contribute their expertise or time, contribute to policy positions, and help support and spread awareness of causes and campaigns.

Annual memberships range in cost from $20 to $5. Both individuals and groups are invited to apply for membership at https://sjwomenscentre.ca/join/


Media Contact:
Jenny Wright, Executive Director, SJSWC


The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area.
Today, the SJSOWC operates The Women’s Centre, Marguerites Place Supportive Housing Program, and Safe Harbour Outreach Project. It recently launched Right Here, Right Now, an innovative mental health initiative that provides walk-in counselling for all women.



FemFestNL 2.0 Safer Space Policy

FemFestNL 2.0 Safer Space Policy

FemFest NL has made an explicit decision to prioritize voices of people who experience oppression, to challenge oppressive culture, and emphasize the empowerment of marginalized individuals. FemFest NL events, and all affiliated programming is a designated safer space. FemFest NL is dedicated to making all of our events a safer space for all women and anyone who has experienced gender oppression; particularly Indigenous women, women of colour, LGBTQI2S+ folks, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.

According to the Safe Space Network, a Safe Space is a place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express themselves, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation or spiritual belief, age, physical or mental ability, family status, source of income, real of perceived socioeconomic status, or lived experience. FemFest NL asks us all to be aware of language, behavior, and to consider if it might be offensive or presumptuous towards others. This is not a space for violence, for touching without consent, for intolerance of religious or spiritual beliefs or lack-thereof. If you experience language or behaviour that perpetuates discrimination, please notify a designated Safe Person or member of the FemFest NL committee. These incidences will be addressed by FemFest NL, and people may be asked to leave.

FemFest NL encourages the expression of different opinions, choices and tactics. This means as a community we must work hard not to silence each other; and also that some voices must be given more of a platform than others. We are asking that we work through these possible conflicts or disconnects as a group in this space of learning. When we disagree, let us do it in a way where we can hear each other, and communicate with care while respecting and considering context. This means also engaging with people outside of academia, non-profit sectors and relating in honest, non-discriminatory, and compassionate ways. As a community, we can work to develop safer spaces for us all.

Things we can all do to create a safer space:

  • Respect people’s physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries.
  • Respect pronouns and ask before assuming pronouns
  • Be aware that raising your voice or other aggressive body language may be understood as abusive behavior by others.
  • Respect people’s differing opinions, beliefs, and view points.
  • Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others despite what your intentions may be.
  • Identify what makes a space safer for you.
  • Be mindful and acknowledge that cultural differences exist, while working to embrace them
  • Honor that safety looks different for everyone.

Adapted from Black Futures Now Toronto: Safer Spaces Policy

Safe Space Network: http://safespacenetwork.tumblr.com/Safespace

St. John’s Status of Women Council to host Chandra Kavanaugh as Feminist in Residence


June 29th, 2017

St. John’s, NL

St. John’s Status of Women Council hosts Chandra Kavanaugh as Feminist in Residence

 In the lead up to FemFestNL 2.0, The St. John’s Status of Women Council will host Chandra Kavanagh as Feminist in Residence. During her residence Kavanagh will hold a series of talks titled “Introduction to Feminist Activism.”

  • July 6th: Feminism and Activism
  • July 13th: Feminism, Love and Sex
  • July 20th: Feminism and Healthcare
  • July 27th: Feminism and Parenting
  • August 3rd: Feminism and Solidarity

I am deeply honoured to have been selected to serve as the St. John’s Status of Women Council’s newest Feminist in Residence. Many of my early experiences with feminist activism began at the SJSWC/Women’s Centre and I am incredibly excited to be able to offer something back to my community and this important organization. – Chandra Kavanaugh

All talks will be held at St. John’s Status of Women Council’s at 170 Cashin Ave. Extension, from 7-9 pm. All are welcome to attend and the space is physically accessible with parking and gender-neutral washrooms.

Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council said:

“It is an integral part of our role at the St. John’s Status of Women Council to foster feminism and create a space where the work towards equality rights and justice can happen.”

As Feminist in Residence, Kavanagh will also host a Feminist Working Hub.  Mondays from 12-4pm, beginning Monday, July 10th, 2017. The council encourages feminists who work from home or remotely to join us and share a communal working space.

FemFestNL 2.0 begins Friday August 11th and runs to Sunday August 13th, 2017, downtown St. John’s at The Space, 72 Harbour Drive.


Media contact:

Jenny Wright

Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women Council


Chandra Kavanagh

Ethicist, author, international public speaker, and PhD Candidate


About St. John’s Status of Women Council: The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area.

About Chandra Kavanagh: Chandra Kavanagh is ethicist, author, international public speaker, and PhD Candidate in the philosophy department at McMaster University where she studies feminist thought and biomedical ethics. Chandra has delivered presentations on political and ethical issues that have received high acclaim across Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. An award-winning feminist and labour activist, Chandra received the 2016 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario “Sisters in Solidarity” award for her outstanding work on gender issues in her role as president of CUPE Local 3906. Chandra has 20+ publications in both academic and popular media formats with a strong focus on ethics and gender.



FemFestNL 2.0 Call for Submissions


FemFestNL is a festival of all things feminist, including concerts, film screenings, readings – to be held in downtown St. John’s. We are asking you to help shape the conference through a call for submissions!

When: August 11th to 13th, 2017

Where: The Space, Harbour Drive, St. John’s

Who we are: A committee of feminist organizations, students and activists who are organizing FemFest NL – a feminist conference to take place in St. John’s. It will be carried out from August 11th-13th, 2017 with a two-day forum (August 12th and 13th) with panel discussions and lectures, to happen at The Space.

FemFestNL prioritizes the voice and experience of women in our community. We welcome submissions from all women (trans, intersex, cis, 2S) and all those who experience gendered oppression (including non-binary and gender non-conforming people) and all those who identify as women for the purpose of political organizing.

FemFestNL events are open to everyone.

For this conference, will be accepting proposals for panel discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions based around feminist organizing, community activism and political action in Newfoundland and Labrador. We want to know how our community does direct political action, how they work to create community solidarity and how we can share these skills with each other.

What we would like from you: Your name and organization (if affiliated) with short two sentence bios, proposed topic, session type (panel, TED Talk, workshop, roundtable, etc.), and length of session, how many presenters (and their names and short bios if already planned).

We are prioritizing submissions focused on Feminist activism:

Direct action

Political action

Community solidarity 


Submissions open from June 24th to July 15th, 2017 (12 pm NL standard time)
Please submit to: nlfemfest@gmail.com

Thank you, from the creator of the Thank You Project

To our community,

A young woman in our community has gone up against one of the most powerful systems in our province, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and in doing so she stood up to a rape culture that permeates and tries to defeat us.  We do not know the identity of this woman, or if she is aware of the immense impact that her trial has had on survivors and the community, but it is safe to say she has inspired change.  Her actions changed the conversation; in coming forward she has forced the justice system and the public to question the validity of the process. 

For this we want to say THANK YOU!  We have been dubbed The Thank You Project; our purpose is to send cards and letters thanking this woman, supporting her and letting her know that we believe her.  The cards can come in days, weeks or months – she has a lifetime of healing ahead. The court of public opinion can be cruel and we want to counteract those negative voices with the voice of positivity and support and love. 

The Thank You Project is a community support piece and we are therefor welcoming the support and contribution of any and all individuals who would like to send in a card of their own, a small group, or  host card making events.  If there is an event happening in your community, where a table could be set up and stocked with craft making supplies for attendees to create cards, we would be thrilled to have you involved.  If groups are able to provide their own supplies and volunteers this would be greatly appreciated as we are not a registered charity and there have not been any funds allocated or official volunteers secured.  For groups in the St. John’s region we have collected limited crafting items and would be able to offer assistance in this manner.

I am happy to hear from anyone who would like to be involved, has an idea to put forward, or would if you like to send along a card of your own.  I can be reached at thankyounl@outlook.com for further discussion and information on card drop locations. 

I look forward to seeing the creations of support from our community.

With gratitude,                                       

Ashley MacDonald

Call for members to join a committee to create a forum on community safety

The St. John’s Status of Women Council will facilitate alongside community members the planning of a public forum on advancing community safety. It is our hope that  we can work towards a forum where we can bring broad members of our community together – the police, taxi companies, government, students, business and advocates and survivors, so that we can come up with community driven solutions to make our community safe for everyone.

To begin planning for the community forum we would like to strike a committee to help guide the process. We encourage those most affected by violence to help inform the process – WOC, indigenous, trans, disabled women, sex workers and gender non-conforming folks.

The first planning meeting will be Wednesday March 22th at the Women’s Centre at 5:30pm – 170 Cashin Avenue Extension

The Women’s Centre is fully accessible, gender neutral washrooms and there is parking.

Please RRSP to jenny@sjwomenscentre.ca  if you want to be on the planning committee and if you can attend the meeting.